We’ve come a long way since 2010 but there’s a lot more still to do
As Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal, my priority has been to make our area
a jewel in the crown of the nation once again.
Back in 2010, things looked bleak. Our Port was about to be sold off to the
French or whoever. Dover's Buckland Hospital had been wrecked. For a decade
services had been withdrawn and wards axed one by one. Plans for a new hospital
had been going nowhere and Burlington House seemed light years from demolition.
Meanwhile in Deal they decided to axe outpatients at Deal Hospital in 2006,
leaving the much loved Deal Hospital teetering on the edge. To add insult to
injury, they said Deal was a "village" unworthy of the fast train.
Our area was gripped by recession back in 2010. The recession saw local
unemployment rocket by a shameful 50%. We had never got our fair share of
investment from central Government. People were beginning to lose hope.
Fast forward to 2015. It's clear we've come a long way together. We defied the
odds and saved the Port of Dover. Now, a people's port is rising at the docks
and there is an exciting vision for the Western Docks Revival. Community
Directors are being appointed to the Dover Harbour Board and a community fund
has been set up to benefit our community.
We got the New Dover Hospital project back on track. The hospital is opening
shortly and will provide great local healthcare. The minor injuries unit, day
surgery, diagnostics and outpatients will save costly journeys to Ashford and
Margate. After a powerful community campaign we safeguarded Deal Hospital - the
hospital will now have more clinics and services. We are getting a fairer share
of healthcare locally.
Unemployment has fallen nearly 40% since 2010 and some 3,000 apprenticeships
have been created. Deal has the nation's best high street. And last month, the
Government approved the demolition of Burlington House - it was D Day for Dover.
We can now get on with the town centre development we have waited for so long.
The starting gun for the renewal of Dover has been fired.
Much has been done. But there is so much still to do. My plan is to see over
£500 million invested in our community by 2020. A renewed Port, a revived
Western Docks and a renewed town and seafront. A Dover that is once again a
jewel in the crown of the nation. Five star care and recovery suites locally in
our community to help people get better near where they live. We've done a lot,
yet seeing through our long term plan for Dover & Deal will deliver even better
It's been a privilege to serve Dover and Deal these past five years. I am
passionate about building on our progress to make Dover & Deal all it can be.